Two years ago McCreary opened an envelope that contained a script with a red cover and a robot staring at him. He knew this might mean his first chance to work with J.J. Abrams and the team at Bad Robot. "I was riveted by the taut storytelling, kept guessing at every turn. I immediately saw the potential for a fantastic film, and was so excited I couldn't sleep," said McCreary.
"Bear has written an incredible score for [director] Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane," said producer J.J. Abrams. "It is tense, emotional music that gives the film scope and heart, augments the surprise and horror. It's an homage to Herrmann, but wholly original at the same time. I'm deeply grateful to Bear for his contribution to this movie."
"Walking out of our first meeting, I had the sensation that J.J. had just given me permission to write the score I'd always wanted to write," McCreary described. "And Dan knew intuitively that the music could help provide an emotional core to the story, support the tension coming from threats both inside and outside the bunker, and give an epic sense of scale," said McCreary.
With their blessing, McCreary went full steam ahead, assembling four different ensembles for the score: a traditional 90-piece orchestra, a smaller 45-piece string ensemble, a grouping of 30 celli and 8 bass, and a string quartet (The Calder Quartet). He combined these performances with two unusual instruments, the Yayli tanbur (played by Malachai Bandy) and the Blaster Beam.
The Blaster Beam is an experimental instrument built and played by Craig Huxley, best known for its use in Jerry Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. McCreary reached out to Huxley and was invited to explore the instrument. "When I first saw the Blaster Beam, I could barely believe my eyes! I was giddy! It can best be described as a 15-foot-long pedal steel guitar, resembling an alien spaceship that lumbered off the pages of Heavy Metal magazine in the 1970's. As soon as Craig played it, my imagination went into overdrive."